Read how the NHL raises money and awareness for hockey’s most important fight.
In 1998, the National Hockey League and NHL Players’ Association teamed up to help fight cancer. This is the oldest and longest standing league-wide initiative. Teams, broadcast partners, and corporate partners have raised over $15 million to support national and local cancer research institutions, children’s hospitals, and local cancer organizations. Each October, players, arenas, and teams cover local and national markets to spur conversations about cancer research. Hockey Fights Cancer will resonate through games, events, and social media to reach as many fans as possible.
For the NHL, this is a media and awareness driver. The league can aggregate all of the content at the team level and push it out on a global scale to its fans and followers. Each team can make an impact at the local level and then funnel content and social impact up to the league. Furthermore, the NHL has national charitable partners who align with the mission of Hockey Fights Cancer. These charities will receive dollars to help cover the costs of cancer research and care.
According to Jessica Berman of the NHL, “the league coordinates the marketing of this initiative at the team and league level. Their goal is to infiltrate and amplify the awareness through national broadcasts and social media.” The NHL profiles what the teams are doing and share best practices within the league. If they have a league event that lines up within our window, then we will have a league activation as well. For example, this year it syncs up with our Heritage Classic in Winnipeg, so they will use this as an opportunity to expand on the Hockey Fights Cancer message.
This is a great way to supplement a league initiative at a club level. It will be interesting to see if the league can create social media and broadcast metrics that show impact that moves the needle for cancer research.